Retro Soul – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Listen to any track off of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ latest effort, 100 Days, 100 Nights, and you’d swear it was some long-lost Motown recording, dripping with the kind of soul we’ve come to equate with that era. But Jones and Co. are here to tell you that 2007 brought soul back; slick producers and Pro Tools advocates need not apply. With a production so dead-on it sounds as if it were pulled from a time machine, Jones and the Dap-Kings lead the pack in the old-school soul revival.
Sharon Jones got off to a late start in the business. After working jobs as a prison guard at Rikers Island and an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank, Jones finally got her big break in the music business at age 40. Asked to sing backup in 1996 for ´70s soul legend Lee Fields, Jones left a lasting impression on everyone at Fields’ label, Desco Records, and by 1999 was already being dubbed “The Queen of Funk.”
From a group of musicians originally called “The Soul Providers,“ the birth of a band named The Dap-Kings, and the eventual release of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings’ first LP, the band came to be. Titled Dap-Dipping with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, the LP was rushed to have something to sell during a summer-long nightclub gig in Barcelona. It was around this time that the group was quickly earning their title as frontrunners of oldschool soul and funk music. It was also around this time that saxophonist Neal Sugarman and Gabriel Roth, former head-engineer at Desco Records, combined forces to form Daptone Records.
Now three albums in, Jones and the Kings’ popularity is growing by the day, and their influence has spread far beyond the Daptone label. Producer Mark Ronson recently employed the Dap-Kings (sans Sharon) to perform on Amy Winehouse’s mammoth success tour Back to Black, where the Dap-Tones signature sound can be heard on such notable hits as “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good.” They were also recently booked as the opening act for Winehouse’s US tour. But when asked whom they’d rather tour with, the answer was easy: “Playing with Amy is cool, but playing with Sharon is an experience. There is a lot of spontaneous stuff going on with Sharon. You never know where she is going with a tune, so the band has to be right with her all the time. That is what makes Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings one of the greatest touring bands out there.”
Bruce Scottmyspace.com/sharonjonesandthedapkings daptonerecords.com